****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Senri Oe and Company: Answer July

All I know about Senri Oe is that he’s a Japanese American who lives in New York, plays piano, and is unbelievably adept at composing wonderful music.  There are only eight songs on this release, and as soon as each one is over, you wonder “what can he do next?” Each piece is just so buoyantly clever! The basic band has Oe pl aying piano along with Jim Robertson/b and Yacine Boulares/sax along with rotating drummers Andy Watson, EJ Strickland and Reggie Quinerly. Vocals are passed around by Sheila Jordan, Becca Stevens, Lauren Kinhan,, Dylan Pramuk and Theo Bleckmann, sometimes in solo or in group form. All of it is a gas!

Jordan is stupendously relaxed on the slinky “Tiny Snow” as she opens with bass before the horns slowly start introducing themselves. She bops with delight on “Mischievous Mouse” while Stevens sounds late night indie with Boulares’ warm tenor on “Answer July.” Voices unite to sound either liturgical or madrigal, depending on your leanings, on “You And Me” and Kinhan sounds world wise on”The Very Secret Spring.” Each piece has clever side streets, are completely unassuming, and let the ingredients mix like so few chefs are able to create. Everyone should take great pride in this feast. Is this guy coming to the West Coast? We gotta find out more about him!


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